Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Post image for An Artilleryman’s Diary–Jenkin Lloyd Jones

An Artilleryman’s Diary–Jenkin Lloyd Jones

December 4, 2013

An Artilleryman's Diary–Jenkin Lloyd Jones, 6th Battery, Wisconsin Artillery.

Bridgeport, Friday, Dec. 4. Awoke at dawn, the ground was white with frost and blankets stiff, although we slept warm. The 12th Battery succeeded in getting over some time during the night. “Ned” gone from the tree. I started in search walking brisk for an hour over the hills and high brush to no avail. Found our boys in squads by fires, having suffered severely during the night. Most of them had no blankets. Returned. Evie started and soon returned astride a fine specimen in the shape of a “sorrel crowbait”, mane and tail closely shaven and points very prominent; but he could carry the harness, so he would do. No signs of moving with the batteries. We have nothing to eat, and by this time quite hungry, which induced us to push on in an independent squad. Two miles out found “Ned” standing innocently at a fire, held by an infantry man. Of course I traded. Passed the 1st and 2nd Brigade in camp, also the Division headquarters. Found grain on roadside near Whiteside. Halted to let horses eat. Passed by General Smith and Brigade. Captain Dillon halted and spoke gruffly to us, but finally rode on, and we followed after him. Made serious attempts to buy cornbread of citizens or hard-tack from trains going to the front, but failed. Joined by D. J. Davis, E. F. Hayes and W. H. H. Booth. We journeyed on together.

The sun was very warm, the frozen ground converted into mud. I was afoot. Noon came and hunger became more pointed. We halted to rest in sight of a camp, a brigade in winter quarters. “Council of war” held and the following program determined upon. E. W. E. and E. F. Hayes were to take the horses and go to the above-mentioned camp and procure something to eat regardless of expense, while we went to “Mica Jack Cave” to await their return. Visited this stupendous piece of God’s handiwork and proceeded into it as far as daylight would show us the way. A truly impressive scene, solid rock under one’s feet, pure crystal water trickling down its walls, streams fell from above on * * * of rock, which by constant trickling were now smooth and symmetrical. On all sides long ranges of leeches were arranged for saltpetre works. The earth out of which it was obtained was brought from the entrance of the cave, the best of it five miles, in barge vats at the mouth for boiling it down. At length the boys came, having succeeded to a charm, as they had a box of condemned crackers thrown aside (being mouldy) out of which they filled their haversacks, and which to us tasted sweeter than honey. We ate heartily and thankfully of these musty crackers and water from the cave, after which I felt much stronger.

Seven miles to Bridgeport, which we made easily by 4 P. M Endeavored to buy our supper, but the hungry boys of the 1st and 2nd Brigades had cleared the town. Waited until after night for the arrival of the rest of the boys, as we hoped they would have rations, but as they did not appear, D. J. D., E. W. E. and myself started in search of camping ground. It was very dark and we wandered across the large flat covered with logs, stumps and rifle pits in search of the camp of the 3rd Division, from one camp fire to another, until at last we found the train loaded with crackers. Dan succeeded in filling his haversack with crackers from behind a wagon. Honest, for a hungry man. Built a large fire by a dead tree, made our bed in the leaves, and after eating a few dry crackers, retired for the night, tired and rather lonesome.

Previous post:

Next post: